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Admission Application Suggestions (Part VII)

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Education is great freedom! Education that prepares you for a profession is greater freedom!! Education that allows you to thrive and stay out of trouble is the greatest freedom!!!

But to have freedom involves opening many doors and handling whatever is behind each door -- even though you have never seen or heard of what comes out from behind those doors. Successful handling involves knowing the written and unwritten rules of your chosen profession, knowing how to handle your personal problems, and knowing how to manage the extra problems thrown in your way by racist and by enemies. But make sure your character and rational thinking skills are solid. Because powerful people are the gatekeepers to your dreams, you must play their game that allows you to get past the gate. Once inside the playing field, do what it takes to stay on the path to your dream. In order to get through the gate, they will ask questions about things often unfamiliar to you. The way to handle this is to have them restate the question so that you clearly understand what they are looking for. Then recall successful experiences you have had in handling similar projects in your community. Use what you learned in your community to answer the interviewer's questions.
Without resorting to blame, accept the fact that you may fall into the category of an "at-risk" student - one with the biggest problems and one who has to buck peer pressure as a result of desiring an academic education. Start Where You Are. Study school subjects harder and wisely take care of money matters. You have less chance of succeeding by working long hours (over 15 hours a week) and studying part time than by taking out a student loan and studying full time. In the long run you lose money by completing your studies more slowly because of the likelihood of not benefiting from earning far more money after obtaining a degree. Besides, the longer it takes to get your degree the more you are engaged in things that increase your need for money outside of college. During my schools days I had no idea that tremendous amounts of money was available to disadvantaged students with promising futures. A place to start learning about this is at public libraries, through the internet, and by investigating military programs (some of which will pay for your education in exchange for five or so years of military service).
SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) college entrance exams are now including 3-1/2 hours of handwritten essays (writing what you think/feel about a tiny piece of life) -- a practice already used as part of grade school, government, and graduate school tests. SATs are also including mathematics (e.g. algebra II, trigonometry). They are replacing analogies with a text and questions that better gauge reading ability and verbal skills (renamed "critical reading") to argue some position as, for example, "The more things change, the more they stay the same" or "any advance involves some loss." Also, there will be multiple - choice editing questions on grammar and sentence structure. The overhaul for entrance exams is based on the awareness that writing and math type reasoning are important whether you are an engineer, poet, or teacher. The approach for an essay discussion should address: (1) who is your audience?; (2) what is your purpose?; (3) what are your three key points?; (4) what order should your points go in?' (5) have you put boundaries on your points and covered those points completely?; (6) is your writing easy to read or verbal comments easy to follow -- not boring, not rambling? and (7) is your writing easy to look at? In short, say what it is, what it does, and what you want the audience to remember.

Joseph A. Bailey, II, M.D

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